RTL does not dare to make a forecast for 2020

© RTL Group

The media group RTL Group is hoping for a gradual improvement in the situation after significant losses in the first half of the year due to the Corona crisis. Since the uncertainty remains very high, especially with a view to the fourth quarter, which is important for TV companies, no concrete forecast for 2020 is possible, the Bertelsmann subsidiary announced on Thursday in Luxembourg. It is already clear, however, that sales and operating profit will be significantly below the level of 2019 and earlier years.

RTL boss Thomas Rabe sees a silver lining on the horizon. In the third quarter, the decline in TV advertising revenues should slow down significantly compared to the three months up to the end of June. A minus of ten percent is currently expected compared to the previous year – but only if market conditions normalize further. In the second quarter, the TV advertising revenue fell by around 40 percent. Competitor ProSiebenSat.1 recently made a similar statement with regard to the development of advertising revenues.

In the first half of the year, the group’s revenue fell by around 16 percent to 2.7 billion euros – with business falling in the second quarter in particular. In the three months to the end of June, sales dropped by 28 percent to just under 1.2 billion euros. “The companies affected by the Corona crisis have reduced their marketing spending to save costs. And advertising is part of the marketing cost. There was a cancellation tsunami and significant cuts in advertising budgets, ”said Rabe.

Adjusted for special effects, earnings before interest, taxes and goodwill amortization (Ebita) fell in the first half of the year by more than half to 258 million euros. The bottom line was that the profit attributable to the shareholders collapsed by around three quarters to 94 million euros. The group sees itself well positioned, among other things, thanks to its financially strong mother Bertelsmann, which holds 76 percent of the shares. There is sufficient liquidity for all economic recovery scenarios. In addition, the debt could be reduced significantly.

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